Dana L. Walker is an Art Center all-star: a multi-talented player who excels in every position she plays. Walker is the director of Art Center at Night and managing director of Art Center’s suite of public programs (including Art Center for Kids, Saturday High and Summer Institute for Teachers). She is also an Art Center alumna, holding a BFA from the Photography and Imaging program. She also happens to be an occasional Art Center at Night student and an artist in her own right.
Many students who end up studying at Art Center are first introduced to the College through Art Center at Night (ACN)—Art Center’s continuing studies program headquartered at South Campus. And chances are that at some point many of those students also came into contact with Photography and Imaging alumna Dana L. Walker (PHOT 1995). Walker serves as both the director of ACN and the managing director of Public Programs, Art Center’s suite of programs that also includes Art Center for Kids (grades 4–8), Saturday High (grades 9–12) and Summer Institute for Teachers (for K–12 educators).
In addition to her Public Programs duties, Walker is also co-chair of Art Center’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion, which the College created in 2011 as part of its Create Change Strategic Plan. She’s also a board member of the 120 Group, an ethnically diverse, alumni-based organization that promotes educational and career opportunities in art and design for underrepresented minority populations.
We sat down recently with Dana to talk about diversity, her work as an artist and what it’s like to be a student in her own program.
Dotted Line: You’re on the College’s diversity council. How do you define diversity?
Dana Walker: I don’t define it. In fact, one of the things we’ve done on the Council is purposely not define it. Because once you define it, it becomes a quantity rather than a quality. Diversity is not just about race, ethnicity or religion. It’s also economics, geography, gender and more. In fact, diversity includes so much that it’s really about all of us. And that’s what makes it challenging. To become a better artist or designer, you need to understand the world that you live in and the people who live in it. Whether it’s learning about another culture or learning how to work with different people, you can’t design for the world if you don’t understand large parts of it.
The August issue of Bulletin, Art Center’s monthly e-newsletter, has arrived!
This month’s issue features a q&a with Art Center at Night’s Dana L. Walker.
You’ll also find the latest on Art Center news, happenings and events.
Are you looking for a new challenge? Do you need to add a valuable skill to your art and design practice? Or perhaps you’re interested in applying to Art Center College of Design’s full-time degree program and need to build a portfolio? Stop dreaming about the possibilities and make it happen with Art Center at Night (ACN).
Managing Director of Public Programs and Director of Art Center at Night Dana L. Walker took a break from preparing for tomorrow’s Open House to talk to us more about the program and its offerings for fall.
Dotted Line: What is the value of a continuing studies program like Art Center at Night?
Dana L. Walker: There are no single career paths in today’s world. Jobs are taking on more and more skills and responsibilities due to consolidated workforces, increased freelance opportunities versus staff positions, and a variety of other reasons. Art Center at Night (ACN) helps those trying to add to their design skill set, as well as those wanting to take their careers into a different direction. For instance, technology might have changed since you began your design career, and now you need to get up to speed quickly. There are ACN classes for that.
But I also find that there are a number of people who started out in digital careers coming to ACN get the full range of design foundation that they may have missed in their studies. They want to understand everything that came before digital—use of typography, color theory, visual communication and such. Sometimes they want a tactile experience where they’re not designing on a computer monitor. We’re seeing a growing desire for these sorts of experiences, making things by hand.
Dotted Line: How does a program like ACN adapt to the changing economic climate?
Walker: We’ve developed smaller, shorter‑term classes as well as some online and weekend intensives. A full term is 14 weeks, but we are offering many 7-week courses and one-day seminars. These can be easier for many students because it’s less of a commitment, in both time and money.
Dotted Line: What type of student attends ACN?
Walker: The program is for anyone age 18 or over—students looking to develop their portfolios for acceptance into Art Center’s degree programs, working professionals, retirees—and everyone in-between searching for a way to explore their creative side. We have classes tailored for all of these people.
Guest post by Art Center President Lorne Buchman
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
Last fall, I launched an important conversation regarding diversity through a forum with Dr. Daryl Smith, a leading national scholar in higher education diversity theory and research. The intention was to bring College leadership together to explore the values of diversity and inclusion as central to academic excellence and institutional mission.
Synchronized to align with the development of our new strategic plan, the forum was an important beginning in developing a common understanding of institutional diversity and inclusion. In the final plan itself, these values have been anchored at the center of our educational mission—precisely where they belong. Create Change recognizes the critical responsibility of developing professionals, leaders, and citizens able to thrive in and contribute to a changing and pluralistic society.
To implement and monitor relevant aspects of the strategic plan, I am pleased to announce that I have established a new standing committee for the College—the Council on Diversity and Inclusion. Parallel to Art Center’s Budget Committee, and Facilities & Technology Committee, the council will be a standing shared governance committee of the College. The responsibility of the Council on Diversity and Inclusion is to realize the strategies outlined in our new plan through ongoing oversight in measuring progress toward achieving our objectives.
Meliné Khatchatourian didn’t always know she was going to enter the arena of transportation design.
In fact, she never even took a fine art course until her senior year as a communications major at the University of California, San Diego.
“I was surprised to discover that I not only enjoyed those [art] classes, but I excelled in them,” Khatchatourian says. “I knew that I had discovered a path I had to pursue.”
She soon enrolled in Introduction to Product and Transportation Design at Art Center at Night (ACN). Khatchatourian vividly recalls the first day her class focused on transportation studies when her instructor used her car as a teaching tool. “My car was dissected and explained as a work of functional art,” she says. “I remember thinking, ‘I need to learn as much about this discipline as I can.’”
So Khatchatourian met with ACN Director Dana Walker, who suggested courses to prepare her portfolio for the College’s Transportation Design program. And the rest is ACN history.
Ready to make history yourself? Then come to Experience Art Center at Night, April 18 through 20, 7to 9 p.m., a three-evening event where you can explore ACN’s broad range of courses.
Registration for ACN’s Summer Term is now open; courses begin May 16.
“Open House is the perfect opportunity for people to become acquainted with educational opportunities offered by ACN’s nearly 200 innovative courses in art and design,” says Public Programs Managing Director and ACN Director Dana L. Walker.
Held at South Campus, several hundred attended the annual summer event, which gave participants the opportunity to sit in on classes, view student work and speak with faculty members. Among the various classes open to the public were Motion Design 1; Still Life Drawing; Letterpress Printing; Shoes: Fact and Fantasy; and Unplugged: DIY Graphic Design and TEXTure. Class demonstrations, including an Artist Trading Card workshop, were also open to Open House attendees. A prize drawing awarded ACN goodies and the grand prize—a free ACN class—was won by both John Reager of Irvine and Marsekal Tirtadji of Santa Monica.
A wide variety of people attended the event, including current, prospective and past students, parents, ACN faculty and community members. Holly Hofgaarden attended Open House to learn more about ACN and the classes offered. “I want to eventually attend Art Center’s degree program in Graphic Design,” she explained. “I came by Open House to learn more about the ACN courses that they offer in that subject. I want to build my portfolio, and think that I can do this through ACN classes.”
“Open House gives potential students the chance to have a conversation with their potential instructor, which is really nice,” says ACN instructor and Art Center alumnus Ronald J. Llanos. “Also important is the fact that they can see the physical work that comes out of the classes, especially in classes like mine, Composition and Painting and Introduction to Figure Drawing. I think it helps potential students get the vibe of the class they’re considering, and what to expect.”
Tony Luna has been an Art Center instructor since 1985, teaching in both the degree and Public Programs. Luna teaches three popular ACN classes: Crafting a Meaningful Career: Parts One, Two and Three. The courses aim to help creatives rediscover their passion, examine the interconnection of their personal and work histories, and analyze their creative strengths and weaknesses.
“There is nothing like having the opportunity to sharing your enthusiasm for ACN classes face-to-face with prospective students,” says Luna. “In these uncertain economic times, it is refreshing to offer classes which help the students to rediscover their potential get back to what is important to them in their careers. Open House provides that interface and gives hope to those who want to do more with their lives and livelihoods.”
Ah, summer. Swimming pools, barbecues, ice cream trucks. But summer is not all play. It’s when Art Center teaches teachers—and the results make the first day of the next school year an eagerly anticipated event.
Using a methodology called Design-Based Learning, Art Center has found a proven way to empower educators to excite students about learning, improve their test scores and boost their overall performance—in any subject. The College has made this approach the cornerstone of its award-winning Summer Institute for Teachers, an intensive five-day program for K-12 teachers in all subject areas and grade levels.
“At the Summer Institute for Teachers, brand new and deeply experienced teachers alike will pack their tool kits with practical techniques they can use to inspire, involve and energize their students and help them develop reasoning and problem-solving skills, no matter the subject, the curriculum, or the grade level,” says Managing Director of Public Programs Dana L. Walker.
Learn more about our Summer Institute for Teachers: Art Center College of Design Offers Award-Winning Summer Institute for Teachers
Public Programs managing director and Art Center Photography and Imaging alum Dana L. Walker’s work is currently shown in ART from the Ashes, a group exhibition themed around last year’s Station Fire. Pieces are inspired by, and created out of debris from, Glendale’s Deukmejian Wilderness Park after the fire.
ART from the Ashes is a nonprofit organization of artists and volunteers who create art crafted from materials collected from fire site locations. Debris that would otherwise be cleared and dumped into landfills is gathered and transformed into one-of-a-kind works of art. The organization hosts charity exhibitions showcasing the work created from the reclaimed fire site materials. A portion of the proceeds from each exhibition is donated to a local or national charity chosen by the business or individuals impacted by the fire.
The exhibit runs through July 24 and will feature a host of events in addition to the installation of works of art from a fantastic collective of artists.
ART from the Ashes Gallery
216 S. Brand Boulevard (across from the Americana at Brand)
Glendale, CA 91205
Gallery hours: Tues-Sun, Noon to 6 pm